The Congress is trying to keep off the Thomas affair. “It is not a decision of the Congress,” said party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed, answering a volley of questions here on Friday, a day after Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati told the Supreme Court that the Department of Personnel had not placed the facts relating to the Kerala palmolein case, in which P.J. Thomas' name has been cited, before the high-power committee that finalised his appointment as Central Vigilance Commissioner — a claim the BJP has described as “untruth.”

Asked whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who headed the committee, was lying, Mr. Ahmed dodged the question, saying, “You are asking me the same question again and again, in different ways.”

“Judicial process on”

Asked whether the Congress felt that the government had erred in making the appointment, Mr. Ahmed said it was not for the party to comment on the case as the judicial process was on.

The Congress is now hoping that the Supreme Court itself will hold the appointment of Mr. Thomas “untenable” and ask the government to start the process of his removal.

If BJP leader Sushma Swaraj files her affidavit in the court — contradicting the government claim that full facts were not placed before the committee, of which she was member — before February 3, when the Thomas case is heard next, it will further complicate the situation for the government.

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